Lest we forget

In this age of 24/7 distraction things fly by so quickly that we barely have time to consider one before the next wet turd comes whizzing by.   Our current POTUS, who won election with a historic, never before seen landslide of almost 100,000 votes, is the master of this ADHD-inducing tactic, launching a constant stream of odiferous torpedoes that leave everyone too dizzy to analyze any single torpedo.

Lest we forget, prior to the 2016 midterms the failing NY Times published a huge, highly detailed story about the corrupt practices Fred Christ Trump, the president’s ethically challenged father, used to avoid paying taxes as he made his children multimillionaires.  The lede of that October 2, 2018 (the day Jared Kushner’s friend, fellow prince MBS, was having a journalist murdered and dismembered) story was:

The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.

It went on, for many pages, like this:

President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.

A lesser man would have been put on the defensive by the exhaustively researched and very damning expose.    Trump had his lawyer [1]  threaten the Times.  The Grey Lady quoted the essence of his threats in the article:

20181029_184055 (2).jpg

If Trump’s direct participation in this long pattern of fraud, tax evasion and other crimes is debatable (at least when he was an eight year-old millionaire), he was certainly the primary beneficiary of his father’s generosity and criminality.   What is not in debate is that Mr. Harder never sued the Times.  I love the way the Times casually dropped his threat in the middle of its expose, without comment, hilarious. 

It is worth not forgetting that Trump is the lifelong beneficiary of fraud and tax evasion, among the self-made financial genius’s other endearing traits.  Still, defamation is defamation and the truth of the matters alleged, a separate question.  The facts of the recent blockbuster lawsuit Trump v. The Lyin’ NY Times speak for themselves.  As every American school child knows, Mr. Trump won over fifty billion dollars from the now shuttered NY Times for its defamatory article.

Another detail that should not be lost, in the clouds of gas that pour out of POTUS’s twitter feed many times a day, is that current A.G. William Barr [2] auditioned for his job as Trump’s loyal consigliere by writing Trump an unsolicited NINETEEN PAGE LEGAL MEMO, putting his lawyerly skills on display in the service of explaining to the embattled president that he would protect him no matter what.  

Trump’s first attorney general, who had lied about conversations with the Russians and then properly recused himself from supervising Robert Mueller’s investigation, had long been mocked and humiliated by the president as disloyal, stupid and no Roy Cohn (that last is actually a compliment).  Every American school child could see that the loyal Sessions was skittering on very thin ice.  Up stepped the esteemed Mr. Barr, promising to do what the weak Jeff Sessions could not do, protect the president from Barr’s close friend Robert Mueller no matter what. 

So far Barr is doing exactly that.  Stonewalling.   Nothing to see here.   The careful, thorough, incorruptible Robert Mueller punted, as they say.   According to the non-summary of the report by his new boss, William Barr, Mueller presented evidence that POTUS obstructed justice, along with arguments that he did not actually obstruct justice.   Therefore, you dig, it’s a wash, tie-breaker going to Mueller’s boss, Barr.  Nothing to see here, says Barr, cagey as a man who endorsed preemptive pardons for untruthful, law-flouting superiors in the past [3].  

No reason for anyone to read all the sickening details laid out in Mueller’s report, according to Barr, the main thing is that Mueller found no evidence of direct collusion with Russia (no criminal conspiracy)  and took no position on indicting the sitting president for obstruction of justice.  Another main thing: he did not subpoena the compulsively lying chief executive to testify under oath.  As anyone who has ever heard the president speak understands, that would have been a perjury trap!

It is worth pausing from time to time to look at things like this with some care.  The devil, as always, is fucking his way through the mischievous details.

 

[1]  from that NY Times article:

The president declined repeated requests over several weeks to comment for this article. But a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Charles J. Harder, provided a written statement on Monday, one day after The Times sent a detailed description of its findings. “The New York Times’s allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,” Mr. Harder said. “There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

[2] Communist mouthpiece Business Insider published a recent capsule bio of Mr. Barr.  You can read it here.   A  couple of teasers:  

Additionally, Barr supported one of Trump’s most criticized moves as president — the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Barr wrote an op-ed in 2017 stating Trump “made the right call.” Trump has faced accusations of obstruction of justice over Comey’s ousting.

In a separate op-ed, Barr expressed approval of Trump’s firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to enforce the president’s travel ban that targeted predominantly Muslim countries.

Barr has also been critical of Mueller’s team of prosecutors, questioning their political leanings. “I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group,” Barr said on the subject last year.

[3]  When President George H.W. Bush lost his reelection bid, Iran-Contra principal Cap Weinberger was about to finally stand trial for his long ago misdeeds, including obstruction of justice.  Although Reagan’s Secretary of Defense was innocent until proven guilty, pretrial discovery would have allowed prosecutors to see his detailed meeting notes.   These notes contained references to Bush being present at meetings he denied knowledge of.   The elder Bush would have been put on the spot had Weinberger gone to trial.  

Barr took care of the problem for the man who appointed him Attorney General by recommending and endorsing six pardons days before the end of Bush’s tenure in the Oval Office.  Weinberger was pardoned.  There was no Weinberger trial, no revelation of Bush senior’s repeated lies about what he did or didn’t know about the secret sale of arms to Iran and using the proceeds to illegally fund right wing Central American death squads. Nothing to see here!

Wikipedia summarizes the nothing burger thusly:

Iran–Contra affair[edit]

The Iran–Contra affair concerned the selling of US missiles to Iran. The funds received from Iran were then channeled to guerilla rebels known as Contras, who were fighting the socialist government of Nicaragua.[22]Such funding had been specifically denied by the US Congress.

Though he claimed to have been opposed to the sale on principle, actually Weinberger participated in the transfer of United States Hawk and TOW missiles to Iran at that time.

This resulted in a large scandal with several investigations which resulted in fourteen Reagan administration officials being indicted, including Caspar Weinberger who resigned before trial.[23][24][25]

Following his resignation as Secretary of Defense, legal proceedings against him were continued byIndependent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh. A federal grand jury then indicted Weinberger on two counts of perjury and one count of Obstruction of Justice on June 16, 1992.[26] He was defended by defense attorneyCarl Rauh.

Prosecutors brought an additional indictment just four days before the 1992 presidential election. This was controversial because it cited a Weinberger diary entry contradicting a claim made by President George H. W. Bush. Republicans claimed that this action contributed to President Bush’s later defeat. On December 11, 1992, Judge Thomas F. Hogan threw out this indictment because it violated the five-year statute of limitations and improperly broadened the original charges.[27]

Before Weinberger could be tried on the original charges, he received a pardon on December 24, 1992, from then President Bush, who had been Reagan’s Vice President during the scandal.[24][28]

I add:  Barr had been in office less than a month when he helped Mr. Bush out of a terribly embarrassing situation.   Imagine the damage to Mr. Bush’s image had it been revealed that the former head spook had been lying for years about his involvement in the secret, illegal dealings? 

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